University nursery school manager set to retire with Royal recognition

University nursery school manager set to retire with Royal recognition

with Royal recognition

The manager of one of Aberdeen’s most international nursery schools is set to retire after being awarded an MBE.

HRH Prince Charles presented Wilma Cumming, of the University of Aberdeen Rocking Horse Nursery, with her award at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, which she attended with her family.

Wilma, who started work as joint co-ordinator at the Rocking Horse when it first opened its doors in 1989, was nominated for the MBE by parents of children looked after at the nursery in recognition of her services to nursery care, as well as the immense support she has given parents throughout her time there.

Wilma, who will retire in January, said that receiving the MBE was the greatest honour of her life.

“I am absolutely delighted, but humbled, by the honour and privilege of receiving the MBE. I accepted the award not for myself but on behalf of the staff, parents and external support at the Rocking Horse Nursery and particularly for the children. The nursery has been my life for the last 13 years and the many children who have passed through the doors have made the years 99% happy. “

Wilma’s achievements after 13 years at the Rocking Horse will be marked by a visit to the nursery today, Friday November 8, by Principal C Duncan Rice, who will extend recognition and thanks on behalf of the University community, parents and children. /…MORE

Principal Rice said: “The Rocking Horse Nursery benefits both students and staff of the University. Wilma’s contribution to the University community has been one of total dedication. She is highly respected by adults and children alike.

“This recognition was confirmed with the award of an MBE for her services to nursery care.”

Wilma was born in Udny, Aberdeenshire and educated at Turriff Academy, before completing her NNEB nursery training. She worked at a number of nurseries in Aberdeen, during which time she herself returned to further education as a part-time student at Aberdeen College of Commerce.

In 1989, the Rocking Horse opened its doors. Wilma went on to become co-ordinator in 1993, and was appointed manager in 1995. The nursery has gained a reputation as one of Aberdeen’s most international with more than 400 children passing through its doors from a wide range of countries and cultures throughout the world. At one point, children from some 19 different countries attended the nursery.

Wendy Cruickshank, of the nursery’s Parents Plus Group, said that Wilma’s dedication extended well beyond the normal call of duty.

“Wilma is often to be found working either in the kitchen when the regular cook is off, or in the nursery garden which she worked so hard to develop in the first place. If it wasn’t for her perseverance and vision, the garden project would never have succeeded. Now the children have a wonderful garden in which to play and learn. We shall all miss her very much.”

Wilma is now looking forward to spending time with her husband Norman and their three young grandchildren.

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